"New girl!" exclaimed Katie, "why, she's about the very oldest girl in the school—the oldest and the nicest. She's the head of the school. We call her our queen. She's not like you, Biddy, of course; but she's very nice—awfully nice!""Now, my dear child, will you come into the house with me? I ought to be in the schoolroom now.""We are not by ourselves when we are together," replied Bridget. "Come along, girls, don't be such little despicable cowards! I'll square it with Mrs.[Pg 44] Freeman. You trust me. Mrs. Freeman will forgive us everything when the queen is coming back. Now, do let's be quick, we haven't a minute to lose!"
Janet sprang from her seat with apparent alacrity.
Miss Collingwood was turning away, when her mistress stretched out her hand and drew her back.
"The first thing to do is to appoint a committee," she began.
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"Nonsense, Evelyn. They disobeyed my most stringent orders. Are they not to be blamed for that?"Bridget's movements were so fleet that the head mistress had no time to intercept her; there was a flash of a white dress disappearing through the open window, and that was all.
"What?" said Katie, her eyes growing big with fascination and alarm."Don't say 'good gracious,' Bridget; it's a very ugly way of expressing yourself. You have learnt something, haven't you?""What about Evelyn?" inquired Dorothy.
"Poor girl!" said Evelyn, a wistful expression coming into her eyes.
"You are not to pick flowers, Miss O'Hara; it is against the rules of the school."
She did not attempt to rise to her feet, however, and Mrs. Freeman was far too much absorbed to take any further notice of her.